Drawnalism droning on

Liveblog of UK BlueLightCamp Unconference session on use of drone. Probe to errors, uncertainly and howling cries against grammar.

Simon Orr, Dream Evolution Pictures

Simon first experimented with drones in the marines, but since he left, he’s been looking at them seriously as part of the filming business he wanted to get into. It’s not a straightforward case of buying the kit and getting on with it. You need certification from Civil Aviation Authority – and only two bodies can help you with that.

To get that certification, you need to learn at your risk – you can’t get insurance until you have certification.

Why? Because they’re potentially dangerous. If the bigger ones hits a person or building, serious damage could occur. The small ones will bruise or maybe cut you – the big ones could remove your hand. There’s some safety mechanisms built in: if they drop signal, they stop what they’re doing, they rise to your set safe height, hover, head for home, hover and then land.

His biggest drone including base kit is £12,000, with about £7000 of that in the air – a problem can be a nerve-shredding occasion.

He got his permissions just before christmas, got the necessary commercial insurance (£10,000 employee, £10m public liability.) He employs a camera man controlling the gimbal, to do the filming during flights.


Drawnalism drone tweet

What’s allowed them to become public? Battery technology has got much better and the cost of the avionics has come down. Those avionics can keep it stable in the air without human intervention, making it great for photography.

The smaller ones are down to £350 to £450 now, so people are using them illegally, which is an issue. People used to join clubs for model aviation, because it was so much harder to learn how to fly a fixed wing aircraft. But now? People pop them up in their backyard, despite the fact they should be seeking permission from their neighbours.

Are purchasers made aware of these regulations? Not at the moment – it’s beginning to happen.

You set a safety height (relative to the take-off point), and it will always return to that before heading home.

A lot of (obvious) interest in how you could fly these in bad weather. The news is not good. Most UAVs will fall out of the sky in heavy rain – if the battery gets wet, it bursts into flame. This is an engineering challenge yet to be solved at this size of device.

#ukblc14 – Drones: your friendly eye in the sky
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